J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

International Voices in the Debate on American Slavery

Andrew Hamman, a graduate student at the San Francisco State University who has taught high-school history, announced a new online resource called American Slavery Debate: In the Context of Atlantic History. He describes it this way:

an online primary source archive I have developed over the past year while in residence at the Office of Resources for International and Area Studies (ORIAS) at UC-Berkeley.

The website is entitled American Slavery Debate: In the Context of Atlantic History and provides access to 320+ downloadable documents that illustrate the myriad of international influences that affected American attitudes toward slavery and antislavery between the American Revolution and the Civil War. It has been designed to support teaching and research in the fields of both American History and World History and to encourage scholars and educators to widen the lens through which they examine the complex subject of American slavery.
There are three sections now:
  • British Antislavery Influence, 1770-1865
  • Black Emigration Movements – Foreign Support and Opposition, 1787-1865
  • Revolution and Abolition in Haiti, 1791-1865
Most of the documents are from the 1800s, but some show the start of the international debate late in the previous century.


Auguste Balz said...

More revisionism from the Land of Fruits and Nuts I suspect.

J. L. Bell said...

Are you unable to contemplate, Balz, that the debate over slavery in America was influenced by writers elsewhere in the world? Do you reflexively dismiss interpretations of historical events that might differ from your own as “revisionism”? Are you so resentful of intellectual work in California that you toss out schoolyard insults that have atrophied into cliché?

Never mind—the answers are as obvious as a closed mind. This collection of historical sources clearly threatens you. So much so that you not only didn’t dare to look at it, but actually took the time to tell people that you wouldn’t do so.

RFuller said...

I dunno, Auguste, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

The more I read of the history of slavery, the more I realize a) the West, starting with Britain, were the first- and only ones- to stop it, and b) everybody from white slave owners to African tribesmen and Arab traders had a strong financial and political interest in keeping people enslaved.

And it wasn't just blacks and Indians being put in chains either. Irish and some Scots- Irish were enslaved and sent to America, too. Some escaped. They form my ancestry on 1/2 of my mother's side of the family.

Slavery touches everybody, even to this day.

Auguste said...

"reflect the advice of professors from UC-Berkeley, Columbia University and Stanford University."
Well ,these schools are very known for ultra-liberal stances on just about every topic.Its only reasonable that any material springing from it's disciples be viewed with that possibility in mind.
Of couse your location,greater Boston has many such extremist approaches as well ,and would quite probably be more readliy accepted than publications from more traditional areas.
I suppose this is not really too far-fetched coming from the seat of such political miscreants as provoked the English King and Parliament.

J. L. Bell said...

The notion that Boston isn’t one of the “more traditional areas” of the U.S. of A. is quite amusing.

Unfortunately, it offers yet more evidence, Balz, that you’re trying to dismiss ideas that threaten you by applying comforting stereotypes.

Again, this posting offers a link to historical sources about British antislavery writing, African-American colonization of Africa, and Haiti up till 1865.

I shudder to think what sort of person now finds those topics to be politically controversial.

rhy said...

Never mind—the answers are as obvious as a closed mind.

Charles Bahne said...

Thanks, J. L., for saying what needed to be said, and for saying it very well.